Canada's World Junior team got a big boost on Thursday as both Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brett Connolly and Anaheim Ducks forward Devante Smith-Pelly were granted permission to join the team for the 2012 tournament.
The pair of NHLers will add a boost of experience to a young roster that only boasts three returning members from the silver medal-winning 2011 team.
In 27 games played with the Lightning, the 19-year-old Connolly has recorded four goals and four assists with a minus-1 rating.
Smith-Pelly, meanwhile, has scored three goals and two assists with a minus-10 rating in 26 games with the Ducks.
"This is a great opportunity for Devante to continue his development," said Ducks executive vice president and general manager Bob Murray. "He's improving each day as an NHL player and we hope he can continue his progress after playing for his country."
Connolly is expected to join the team in camp on Friday in Calgary, while no timeline has been announced for Smith-Pelly.